Monday, June 30, 2008

finished the Crossover Top!

Finally! That one took longer than I wanted. I finished the seaming and gave it a little steam block yesterday.

Crossover Top, complete

The Specs:
Completed: 6/29/08
Debbie Bliss pattern from "Essential Baby"
Yarn: Crystal Palace Merino 5, Print and solid
Needles: US 2 and US 3 circulars

It doesn't have any ties yet because I can't find any ribbon for the ties that matches the edging...but I'm not going to worry about that right now! I really want to get back to sock knitting and spinning!

I did get some spinning in on Saturday, I finished the second bobbin the Mermaid Falkland top from Yarn Wench. I'm letting it rest a couple of days before I ply it. I'll post a picture of the finished yarn after it's plied. I also spun a bit of the Merino-silk roving that I started last Tour de Fleece. I'd really like to finish that during this year's Tour.

Someone asked me the other day just how many apricots we had on the tree. Well, here's a shot of the tree as it looked yesterday (that's Tica under the tree):

Blenheim apricot tree 2008

Here's another view:

Blenheim Apricots Galore!

We have a lot of apricots! We'll probably end up freezing them since I don't have a lot of time for canning before we leave on vacation. Of course, they are quite tasty right off the tree!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eye Candy Friday, last one for June...

...can you believe it?!

Since my knitting mojo is still AWOL, today's Eye Candy Friday is from the spinning part of my world. Here are two candidates for Tour de Fleece.

This is Father Ailnoth's Sin from The Sanguine Gryphon. It is 65% Merino and 35% Silk (yummy!).

Father Ailnoth's Sin

And this is Chocolate Covered Raspberries from Creatively Dyed. It is Seawool.

Chocolate Covered Raspberries

And another the colors in this one!

Chocolate Covered Raspberries, close up

Up this weekend: spinning and maybe I'll look for my knitting mojo. I would love to finish the Crossover Top and get that out of my hair! I also have to get serious about making my list of what's I'm taking on vacation...we leave the 10th and that's coming up fast!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Have you seen my knitting mojo?

...I seem to have misplaced it, along with the rest my crafts mojo.

I tried working on a knitting project last night and just couldn't get into it. My knitting WIPs are: the finish work for the Crossover Top, the reworking of the doggie sweater, and a pair of socks. I have no new pictures of any of them.

I have a couple of baby quilts in the queue, but I really want to get my machine tuned up before I start another one. Anyway, quilts are more weekend projects than weeknight projects. I need larger time chunks to make good progress.

And goodness knows, I've got tons of needlework WIPs, but they don't appeal to me either...

The only thing that is mildly appealing is spinning. In fact, I signed up for the next Tour de Fleece. Maybe I should take this time to choose what I want to spin and which projects will go with me on vacation—July 10th is coming up fast!

So this won't be a picture-less post, ripe Blenheim apricots (yum!):

Ripe Blenheim Apricot

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another finished object...

...the baby quilt is done and delivered to the parents-to-be! Here is "Tickled Pink"

Tickled Pink quilt

It went together much quicker than I expected. I realized on Saturday morning that if I pushed, I could get in done. I took the pictures at 2pm; the baby shower was at 3:30pm...cut it a little close, but it's done!

The shower was at a tea room, where we were served some lovely tea sandwiches and desserts. It was very nice to finally meet the mom-to-be and her family. She received lots of cute (and PINK!) things.

Sunday was pretty much a wash for me. I ended up without a car until the afternoon, so my plans had to be rearranged. I spent my time quietly, just reading and recovering from Saturday. My shoulders were a little sore from the machine quilting, but it was well worth it seeing how much she loved the quilt.

I spent a little time in the garden, just looking around (and stealing a few almost ripe apricots!). There were new flowers (
corncockles) blooming in our herb circle:

Corncockle flower

I love the color of these flowers and how their petals change as they bloom. Here's a picture of the flowers in various stages of blooming. See how their petals separate and curl as the blooms get older?

Corncockle flowers

Sunday evening, I picked up the Crossover top again and finished all of the edging. I managed to get one sleeve in and started working on the other. I like how it looks, I just hope that the blocking flattens out the stockinette as it's curling a lot right now. I am so ready to be done with this sweater now...

Friday, June 20, 2008

still distracted...

...but this time by quilting. So for today's Eye Candy Friday, you get two quilt blocks from the baby quilt I'm making. I'm calling the quilt "Tickled Pink."

Here's the assembled cow block:

Block #2 from "Tickled Pink" quilt

And one of the other blocks:

Block from "Tickled Pink" quilt

I need to fix the wonky right side of the ducky block. I sewed that at 11pm last night...I probably should have stopped before then! The other four blocks should go together quickly and then I can add the borders. The quilt won't get done for the baby shower tomorrow, but I can at least show her the top!

Up this weekend: quilting, some spinning, and maybe back to knitting!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

distracted from...oh, look, pretty!...crafts

...playing with my new MacBook! We decided to use our Tax Stimulus check to get me a new laptop. I wanted one of the Intel based ones so I can run some of my Windows applications at home (so maybe I can start working at home one day a week...). It arrived yesterday and I've been playing with it ever since. No knitting, no quilting. All Mac, all the time! LOL!

Needless to say, not a lot of progress is happening at the moment. But Monday night I did finish cutting out the pieces for the baby quilt. Here's an idea of how the different fabrics will be used:

Quilt block components

There are 6 squares in this quilt: one with the cow you see above, two have a pink cat in the center, one with a blue dog, and two have a yellow duck. The quilt has two borders: a narrow pink one and one with a flower print that's wider. It will be a cute quilt when it's finished.

That's all I have...back to work!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday again...

...the weekend goes so quickly!

Friday was an odd day. A huge smoke cloud moved in and made everything hazy. When I got home around 7:30pm, this is what it looked like:

Eerie Sunset

The sun was actually much redder than this, but the picture gives you an idea of what it looked like. Very strange.

I did make it to WWKIP at Purlescence finally around 2:30pm on Saturday. There were 5 or 6 of us outside; I think there were a few inside, but I didn't go in...I just knitted and chatted with the other people there. I worked on the sleeves for the Crossover Top, trying hard to finish them.

We took the Husband's parents out to dinner that night for a combination Father's Day and Birthday celebration. We went to Original Joe's in downtown San Jose. Boy, was it busy down there! I hardly recognize that area of town anymore. It's so different from when I went to San Jose State eons ago.

Sunday, I started a new baby quilt and quickly got bogged down. I bought a kit and it was not clear which fabric belonged to which part of the block. There was no picture of this version of the quilt. I was able to figure out the feature and border fabrics because there are large prints. However, of the remaining fabrics, I could only figure out one for sure simple because the pattern called for 1/3 yard for the background (the only one in the pattern) and there was only one 1/3 yard cut in the kit. After assigning the remaining fabrics so that the pink fabric is featured (it's for a girl), I started cutting...and cutting... The 48 2-inch squares did me in and I quit for the day. This is going to take a while.

After that I needed Sirena's soothing song, so I spun for a couple of hours. I'm still working on the Mermaid Falkland from Yarn Wench. I'm working on bobbin #2.

I did manage to finish the sleeves for the Crossover Top last night. I redid the shoulder seams as I wasn't happy with them. I have now started the front edging and hope to finish this sweater SOON. I am so ready for socks!

Since I have no finished knitting to show you, here's another picture where I've played with Picnik's photo effects. This is a picture of the deep pink azaleas in our parking lot at work. I applied the Holga-ish effect, using 20% fade to retain a small amount of the pink.

Azaleas a la Holga-ish

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apricot Sky Candy Friday

...I'm getting very impatient for our apricots to be ready.

Apricot Sky

Here's a closeup of one that's almost there:

Nearly ripe Blenheim Apricot

The plum tree is doing well and also has fruit that is nearly ripe:

Almost ripe plum

The squirrels are also impatient—they have already invaded the apricot tree. Let's hope that the tree rats leave us some good ones!

I seem to be experiencing some knitting ennui. I'm frustrated that the doggie sweater is not right and I had to rip out the sleeves for the Crossover Top because I misinterpreted one of the instructions. The sleeves are back on track, but I am seriously tired of stockinette! Either it's time for another pair of socks or I should go quilt something!

Up this weekend: I'm hoping to participate in WWKIP tomorrow. However, I have someone coming to look at my quilts and talk about a project she wants to do. I'm not sure whether we'll be done in time for me to get over to Purlescence. I hope so because I had to miss it last year.

Other than that, I need to unearth the Daughter's room as she comes home on Wednesday. (She'll be here for a few weeks, escaping from the heat and humidity of the East coast. I
t might be nice if she had a place to sleep!) And I want to finish this Crossover Top so I can move onto something else! Like socks, or spinning, or quilting, or...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

lack of both sleep and WIP pictures...

...I couldn't sleep last night so I'm not firing on all cylinders right now.

Still working away on the sleeves for the Crossover Top. However, the doggie sweater is at a stand-still. I tried it on the dog yesterday and confirmed that there were fit problems. The neck is just too snug and the shoulder area is slightly off. The shoulder area can be easily fixed, but the ribbing on the neck needs to be pulled out. I've put this project in a time-out while I consider whether to fix it or just frog it and start again.

Since I have no WIP to show you, I'll share another "old" project. Here's a qult that I made for our bed in 2003. (This is a merged picture, so it's not quite true to form. This thing was so huge I didn't have very many places I could hang it to get a proper picture.)

The Tides at Bodega Bay quilt

This was the first [almost] king size quilt I made and the first with so many angles (ugh). It is machine-quilted and is still being used on our bed. The title comes from our favorite place, Bodega Bay. When we go there, we always stay at Inn at the Tides and enjoy one of their wonderful winemaker dinners.

Anyway, that's it for now. Wish it was nap time...

Monday, June 09, 2008

making progress, albeit slowly...

...there is never enough time in a weekend to do all of the things I'd like to do.

As planned, I worked on the Crossover Top and the doggie sweater. The top is turning out very cute:

Crossover Top as of 6/8

I finished knitting the right front. I joined the fronts to the back at the shoulders. I am now knitting the sleeves (both at once). When they're done, I'll attach the sleeves, sew up the sides, and add the edging. The yarn has a lot more lavender and mint green that the pictures show, but the sweater is looking a bit feminine.

Now the doggie sweater is proving a bit challenging, mostly because I don't have a suitable fitting model available. (Although Sombra is pretty close to the recipient's size, her majesty will not be caught dead wearing something intended for a mere dog...)

Dog sweater in progress

I think the neck is too small and the shoulders are too wide for Papi. I'm thinking about pulling out part of the neck ribbing to make it looser around the neck. Hmmm, guess he'll have to try it on before I go further.

I also spent some quality time with Sirena. I have spun about half of the 4.2 ounces and I really like how the colors are flowing. AND I think I found the perfect thing to make with the resulting yarn—the Morning Surf scarf on the cover of the latest Spin-Off magazine. I received my copy on Saturday and fell in love with the pattern. I think the Mermaid yarn will be perfect for it.

For a change, I managed to watch all three of the movies I ordered from Netflix. Usually I get through two at the most, so this was a treat. I watched "Juno" on my own; the Husband and I watched "No Country for Old Men" and "Into the Wild" together. They were all good, with
"No Country for Old Men" being stranger than I expected from the Coen brothers. Now I like the Coen brothers, but I also like things to have a real ending (no, I did not like the way the last episode of the Sopranos played out...). So it bugs me when the movie leaves me with a "that's it?!?!" ending. Wrong!

Oh, and to my classmates from Coast Joint Union High School class of 1968: Happy 40th! (can you believe it!) Here's a reminder of how we all looked then (and, yes, Jane, I have a large one for you!):

Class of 1968

That's me at the end of the second row from the bottom, looking like I was dozing. I was really trying to keep the sun out of my eyes as we were facing the Pacific as the sun was setting. Our graduation ceremony was at Hearst Castle.

Our gym had been condemned because it did not meet the earthquake standards so we couldn't hold commencement there. Someone stepped in and arranged for us to have commencement at the Castle, just a few miles away. This picture was taken during our rehearsal. Behind us is the guest house that we used to get ready. We had the ceremony on this stairway with our guests seated in front of us and held a receiving line around the Neptune pool. Aside from being a cool place to have our graduation ceremony we also got the added perk of a private tour. All in all a great experience! )I'll be uploading more pictures to my Flickr account as I get them scanned.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Eye-can't-believe-it's-June Candy Friday...

...can you? This year is flying! We're a month away from vacation and I need to start planning my yarn crawl strategy for Seattle.

Today's eye candy is brought to you by the letter "G." I know, I know...this is turning into a garden blog again. What can I say? The Husband is an excellent gardener and the plants just beg for pictures.

On Wednesday, I took pictures of the squash blossoms, but they didn't turn out right (too much sun). This morning when I went out to try again, the blossoms were almost all dead. Instead, you get a baby squash picture.

Baby squash

Our hydrangea is blooming again. The flowers are in various this one that is still in progress:

Hydrangea, partial bloom

This bloom can't decide what color to be, pink or lavender:

Should I be lavender or pink?

And because we haven't had a silly cat picture in a while, here's Tica:

Tica, being herself

Note that she has three of her feet showing in the picture. Yeah, she's an odd one...

Up this weekend: knitting the Crossover top. I have finished the back and left side; I'm working on the right side now. Then I can do the sleeves and put it together. I plan on working on the doggie sweater, too. I'm working my way through that pattern. I still don't quite understand how it all fits together, so we'll see.

I'd also like to get some spinning done. I want to make some progress on the Yarn Wench Mermaid Falkland top I started a couple of weeks ago. And then there's all that other Falkland I have in the stash (I need to call a moratorium on buying roving and top—I'm out of room!)

Anyway, let's see how much I can do by Monday!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

it's Wednesday again...

...and no new WIP to show you. I'm working away on the Crossover Top, but there's not a lot of progress since Monday.

Yesterday, I was sidelined by a migraine so everything was slow going. At least my migraines are not completely debilitating like some other people's migraines. I just get an aura that lasts between 20 and 40 minutes, followed by a throbbing headache and an upset stomach. As long as I don't move my body in odd directions (no yoga or Pilates) and I don't eat or drink anything that will really make me sick (carbonated water = good; alcohol or milk = bad), I get over it in about 24 hours. I'm fine now, but yesterday...ay!

I am itching to start the new socks from the Rockin' Sock Club and I'm having a hard time resisting. However, I found the cutest dog sweater pattern and I think I'll start it instead. The owner of the gym has a cute black and white Pomeranian named Papi. Papi loves to wear sweaters and this one (Dogosaurus Rex from Another Dog's Life by Patons) is adorable. It will be a fun knit!

Since I have no new knitting or spinning pictures to show you, how about...tomatoes!

Tomato Color Stages

They are starting to ripen and I'm looking forward to these tasty little treats!

First tomatoes for 2008

Go to my Flickr photostream for more garden pictures...

Monday, June 02, 2008

May 2008 Recap

Here's the was a busy month!


  • 5/5 Iris Baby Cardigan (knitting)
  • 5/16 Feather and Fan Baby Sweater (knitting)
  • 5/25 Second Iris Baby Cardigan (knitting
  • 5/25 Copperhead 2 yarn (spinning)
Worked on:
  • UFOs were ignored this month!
  • 5/5 Feather and Fan Baby Sweater
  • 5/17 Spinning Mermaid Falkland top from Yarn Wench
  • 5/18 Second Iris Cardigan (knitting)
  • 5/22 Spinning Plumthorn (Wesleyan) from Pigeonroof Studios
  • 5/28 Crossover top by Debbie Bliss (knitting)
Frogged/On Hiatus:
  • Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting): Waiting for cold weather
Works In Progress (did not work on):
  1. Saartje's Bootees (knitting)
  2. Foxglove baby socks (knitting
  3. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  4. Spinning 4 oz of Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk roving in purple
  5. Spinning 2 Chasing Rainbows rovings together in the Heather colorway: one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz)
  6. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)
  1. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  2. Central Air socks (knitting)
  3. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  4. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  5. Paint it Black quilt
  6. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  7. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch; still languishing in its stretcher bars)
  9. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  10. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
I need to attack more of those WIPs and UFOs...gotta shrink that list!

drive by posting...

...working on another deliverable. I'll post my May recap later when I have a little breathing room.

So I knit a little:

Crossover Top, back

and spun a little:

Plumthorn on spindle

That and housework pretty much sums up my weekend!

Not-quite Eye Candy Friday...

...we've experienced a week of poor air quality due to the fires north of us. So many people (and animals) have lost their homes, some...